Daniel Okrent

Daniel OkrentDaniel Okrent is the author most recently of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, winner of the 2011 Albert J. Beveridge Prize, awarded by the American Historical Association to the year's best book on American history. He began working on Last Call shortly before he concluded his term as the first Public Editor of the New York Times in 2005. He had retired as Editor-at-Large of Time Inc. in July 2001, after serving three years in that post, three years as the company's Editor of New Media, and four years as Managing Editor of Life magazine.

Prior to arriving at Time Inc. in 1991, Mr. Okrent worked extensively in book and magazine publishing in editorial and executive positions. In the book industry, he was an editor at Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., and at the Viking Press, and editor-in-chief of general books at Harcourt Brace, Inc. In magazines, he was editor and cofounder of New England Monthly (twice consecutively winner of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence). As a writer, he has published five books, among them Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center, a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in history. He has appeared as an actor in two feature films, Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown and Lasse Hallstrom's The Hoax, and on television, he was a featured commentator on Ken Burns's PBS series, Baseball.

Formerly a director of Lands’ End, Inc, Mr. Okrent currently serves on the board of the National Portrait Gallery, for which he also served as chairman for five years.

In the 2009-2010 academic year, Mr. Okrent was the Edward R. Murrow Visiting Lecturer on Press, Politics, and Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where he had been a Fellow in 2006. In the 1999-2000 academic year, he was the Hearst Foundation Visiting Fellow in New Media at the Columbia University School of Journalism. He is currently a retained consultant to Time Inc.

A native of Detroit and a graduate of the University of Michigan, Mr. Okrent lives in Manhattan and on Cape Cod with his wife, poet Rebecca Okrent. They have two adult children.

Member of The Cooper Union Board since 2010

Term Ends: 2018

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.